Monday, August 26, 2013

REPOST: The Definitive Del Amitri Rarities Series, Vol. 5: The Late-Period B-Sides

Supposedly, for the past several years, Del Amitri has been on indefinite hiatus rather than "broken up", but I'll believe it when I see 'em back at work. (Meanwhile, I encourage you once again to check out Justin Currie's solo albums.) So, until further notice, I'm calling the period spanning the band's last two releases on either side of their Hatful of Rain compilation "Late Period" Del Amitri, and lumping the b-sides from those three releases together in this ten-track post. Once again, live cuts and songs which were tapped for inclusion on Lousy With Love are not included here.

From the era of the band's Some Other Sucker's Parade album (not my favorite, but I love the title's implicit "motherf***er"!) comes three tracks that appeared on the two "Not Where It's At" singles (I also love the idea of an answer song to Beck's "Where it's At", with a typical bit of Currian self-effacement; the Dels would never be hipsters' favorites). Then we have songs from the singles that only appeared on Hatful, "Don't Come Home Too Soon" and "Cry to be Found", and finally, four tracks from the "Just Before You Leave" singles from the final D.A. album, Can You Do Me Good

(Continuing Currie's tradition of negatory inversions of famous song titles, "I'm an Unbeliever" appears here.  On his The Great War album, he actually changes a negative to a positive: "You'll Always Walk Alone". Ouch!  But perhaps his most concise transformation is the addition of a mere comma into a famous Springsteen title: "No, Surrender". The song of that name, from What is Love For, is a real masterpiece, a long and scathing societal rebuke on the order of Dylan's "It's Alright Ma" -- and that's not a comparison I'd make lightly.)

Here endeth our collection of Justin's songs that were exclusive to the various Dels singles -- a total of THIRTY-TWO songs over and above what's on their albums (I'm not counting the 3 cover tunes, re-recorded "Hammering Heart", or original take on "The Difference Is" among their number), plus another 13 B-side tunes on Lousy, three more added to the first album's reissue (again, not counting the one cover there), and three more A-sides only collected on the best-of!  Is there any other band with that many non-LP songs (51!) over the course of a six-album career?  That averages out to more than eight extra songs per album.

And yet, we're only halfway through this series! Still ahead in Delsville are a slew of live bonus discs and b-sides, and alternate versions of various songs, totaling another 41 tracks(!) and rounding out Del Amitri's officially released Rare Stuff. (And perhaps I'll go ahead and post "Lousy With Love" after all to close with, just for completeness' sake.) Plus a few extra goodies for Del fans, so do stay tuned. And keep those comments comin'!

Contents (Title/Source):
Spare Pair Of Laces    Not Where It's At [Disc 1]
Low Friends In High Places    Not Where It's At [Disc 2]
A Grimace Not A Smile    Not Where It's At [Disc 2]
Three Little Words    Don't Come Home Too Soon
Canned Laughter    Cry To Be Found [Disc 1]
One Step At A Time    Cry To Be Found [Disc 1]
Belong Belong    Just Before You Leave [Disc 1]
The Septic Jubilee    Just Before You Leave [Disc 1]
You Love Me    Just Before You Leave [Disc 2]
I'm An Unbeliever    Just Before You Leave [Disc 2]

REPOST: The Definitive Del Amitri Rarities Series, Vol. 4: The Twisted B-Sides

Like Change Everything, the following Del Amitri album, Twisted, contributed many of its non-album b-sides to the Lousy with Love compilation, so this brief installment consists of only five songs.  There are some other, live tracks that appeared on singles and a limited edition bonus disc, which will be posted in a whole big "live" segment later on in this series (which I probably shoulda mentioned in the Change Everything post, since there were a few live tracks on those singles, too).  Meanwhile, here are five swell little tunes from Justin and the lads -- it's Rare Stuff, y'all!

Contents (Title/Source):
Queen Of False Alarms    Here And Now
A Little Luck    Driving With The Brakes On
Life By Mistake    Driving With The Brakes On
Someone Else Will    Roll To Me [US]
A Better Man    Tell Her This [CD 1]

Link in comments!

Monday, August 19, 2013

del Amitri - The Debut Album: Remastered Bonus Track Edition

 Without too much ado, here is the out-of-print 2003 Superfecta Records reissue of the brilliant first album of the small-"d" del Amitri - actually, the ONLY album by this original incarnation (and capitalization) of the band. See this post for my comments on this era. 

To the original album's ten songs, this release added both b-sides from the 12" of the album's first single, "Sticks and Stones Girl" - see below for the companion-piece cover artwork - and, technically, the ONLY single from the album, as the next one released was a RE-RECORDED version of the album's "Hammering Heart" (also available at the post linked above).

LINK in comments; why not leave one yourself when you go grab it - or, if you haven't heard this music before, have a listen, then come back and let us know what you think! 

1. Heard Through A Wall
2. Hammering Heart
3. Former Owner
4. Sticks And Stones Girl
5. Deceive Yourself
6. I Was Here
7. Crows In The Wheatfield
8. Keepers
9. Ceasefire
10. Breaking Bread
11. This King Is Poor (Sticks & Stones Girl b-side)
12. The Difference Is (Sticks & Stones Girl b-side)
13. Lines Running North (Hammering Heart b-side)
14. Brown Eyed Girl (Hammering Heart b-side)

REPOST: The Definitive Del Amitri Rarities Series, Vol. 1: The Lowercase Years

UPDATED: Two new songs added; see tracklist below.

As promised, we're skipping back in time from the debut of the re-tooled, modern-rock Del Amitri with Waking Hours in 1989, to the debut of the original, alt-coustic, small-d del Amitri in 1985.  Actually, in this brief five-song installment, we're going back even further than that, to the band's indie-label first single from '83, Sense Sickness b/w The Difference Is.  The latter song was re-recorded as a b-side of the Hammering Heart 12" single, but that was later appended to the excellent Superfecta reissue of the first album along with three other b-sides (two originals and a cover of "Brown Eyed Girl") which are therefore not included here.  However, the A-side of that 12" was a hot, re-recorded version of Hammering Heart, which was not included on the cd reissue, so it is here! Perhaps the rarest track here is "Out In The Wind", which appeared only on a 12" single included with an issue of UK music rag Record Mirror, and seems to date from the period of the first album or just after. The final song here is the very silly "Charlie's Bar", a free fan-club flexi-disc Christmas record from late 1986. Intriguing and fun but not necessarily good for too many repeat listens, maybe just once a year around the holidays. Just like the Xmas records the Beatles used to make!

The band's sound at this point was kinetic and original, with intersecting, angular acoustic guitar lines that always remind me of a folkier, more melodic -- and romantic -- version of Television, as I said in my last post.  I should note that, in addition to Justin Currie and Iain Harvie (the only two permanent Dels), the band members during this period included Bryan Tolland playing one of those interesting, intersecting guitars and the convivial Paul Tyagi on drums. Credit is also due to the band's early manager, Barbara Shores, for working diligently to build them a fan base both in the UK and in the States, where they did a fan-sponsored "Whistle Stop Tour" in the summer of 1986.  I was privileged to attend the band's very first American concert at Maxwell's in Hoboken, as well as receive lots of correspondence and free goodies from the band back in the day. Thanks Barbara!  Wherever you are, this installment of The Rare Stuff is dedicated to you!

(Vinyl rips>wav>mp3@320)

UPDATED: Added "What She Calls It" from rare flexi - pre-1st-single track; and "Hammer and Peach" from Park Lane Archives compilation - from post-1st-album sessions. 

What She Calls It                                          Stand and Deliver [Flexidisc]
Sense Sickness                                            Sense Sickness [7"]
The Difference Is (Original Version)              Sense Sickness [7"]
Hammering Heart (Re-Recorded Version)    Hammering Heart [12"]
Out In The Wind                                            Record Mirror RM2 [12"]
Hammer and Peach                                      Park Lane Archives
Charlie's Bar                                                 Charlie's Bar [Fan Club Flexi-Disc]

Link in comments...

REPOST: The Definitive Del Amitri Rarities Series, Vol. 3: The Change Everything B-Sides

Justin Currie was in some kinda zone when it came to writing songs for Del Amitri Mk. II's second album, Change Everything. So much so that just as many great songs appeared only as single b-sides as made it on to the album. Such was the high quality of these songs that several of them were tapped for the Lousy With Love collection, which explains why several classics among these -- e.g. "Whiskey Remorse", "Long Journey Home", "The Verb To Do" -- are not present here. What is here are three covers (Neil Young's "Don't Cry No Tears", The Faces' "Cindy Incidentally", and The Go-Betweens' "By Bye Pride" [sic]); one instrumental ("Kestrel Road"); and the period's remaining four still-pretty-darn-great, otherwise-unreleased sides. "The Heart Is A Bad Design" is a particular fave.  

Del-icious Rare Stuff!

And don't forget to check out Justin Currie's newest album, The Great War -- UPDATED: Justin has a BRAND NEW album out, Lower Reaches.

Contents (Title/Source):
Learn To Cry/Always The Last To Know
Angel On The Roof/Always The Last To Know
Lighten Up The Load/Be My Downfall
The Heart Is A Bad Design/Be My Downfall
Don't Cry No Tears/Just Like A Man
Bye Bye Pride/Just Like A Man
Cindy Incidentally/Just Like A Man
Kestrel Road /When You Were Young [Disc 2]

Link in comments...

REPOST: The Definitive Del Amitri Rarities Series, Vol. 2*: The Waking Hours B-Sides

UPDATED: New link in comments.

Glaswegian pub-rockers Del Amitri don't exactly have legions of fans. But among those who do love the band, there are no doubt many who own all six of their studio albums (save, perhaps, their self-titled debut, about which more later), plus the Best-Of compilation which featured a handful of non-album singles, and think they have all the material available by the band. What they don't realize is that there are actually scores of Dels tracks that were only released as b-sides of singles or on limited-edition versions of their albums. If you add up the many otherwise-unreleased original songs, plus live and alternate versions, the band's discography literally more than doubles!

One album-length collection, Lousy With Love: The B-Sides, was released as a companion to the Best Of compilation, Hatful of Rain, but that disc contained only a baker's dozen (plus one hidden track) of those rare songs
And these rare tunes are not tossed-off filler!  In fact, many of them rank with the best stuff Dels leader Justin Currie ever wrote. It's a shame that more of these tracks have not been compiled and made available to the public, instead of languishing obscurely on long-out-of-print singles or import editions.

So let me do my part to rectify that!  Today's post is the first in a TEN-PART SERIES that will, collectively, offer a whopping SEVENTY-SIX TROMBONES -- er, TRACKS :^) -- which were officially released, but are no longer in print!

If you're not familiar with the band's output, today's batch o'tracks is as good a place as any to start. If you haven't been convinced of Currie's brilliance as a songwriter by the time you get to the two tracks from the Nothing Ever Happens single, I guess these guys just aren't for you.  Musically, they're far from the most original band on the planet, as they themselves would no doubt admit, but Currie's clever, grousy, funny, misanthropic lyrics mark them as a great band, nonetheless.

Actually, though, on their self-titled debut from 1985, del Amitri -- then spelled with a small "d", mind you! -- DID have a strikingly original sound, taking the spiky, linear, intersecting guitar sound of seminal New York band Television, and rendering it with acoustic guitars in more melodic songs.  Many fans of the band the dels eventually became (i.e. the Dels!) neglect or disavow this material, since it does sound so different from the rest of their output. Still, the debut remains my favorite album of theirs, and one of my favorites of all time. I wanted to start off this series with these tracks from their second disc, Waking Hours, since they will no doubt have broader appeal. But their are a handful of early tracks which were not appended to the great reissue of the debut from a few years ago (which added three bonus tracks), which I will offer next as Vol. 1 in the series, before continuing chronologically through the band's career.  There will be posts of uncollected songs from each stage of their career, followed by a series of live and/or alternate recordings.

I'm really excited to share this material, the secret history of Del Amitri, a band that deserved more attention than they got. Speaking of which, I'd be most remiss if I didn't direct your attention to Justin Currie's new, second solo album, The Great War, a strong follow-up to his masterful solo debut, What Is Love For. If these posts leave you hungry for more, make sure you hear what he's up to today!  Meanwhile, get ready for plenty of The Rare Stuff -- Del Amitri style!

Contents (Title/Source):
No Holding On/Kiss This Thing Goodbye
Slowly, It's Coming Back/Kiss This Thing Goodbye
Fred Partington's Daughter/Kiss This Thing Goodbye [10"]**
Another Letter Home/Move Away Jimmy Blue
April The First/Move Away Jimmy Blue
More Than You'd Ever Know/Move Away Jimmy Blue
Don't I Look Like The Kind Of Guy You Use To Hate?/Nothing Ever Happens
Evidence/Nothing Ever Happens
Talk It To Death/Stone Cold Sober

As usual, encoded at 320kbps for your aural pleasure.

* Volume 1 to follow (see above)
** The track here is actually from Twisted-era single Tell Her This, but it originally appeared on a 10" single of Kiss This Thing Goodbye.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Del Amitri - Lousy with Love: The B-Sides

Hi ev'rybody -

Look who's back!

Here's my first music post in THIRTY MONTHS. I'll say more later, but for now, I'm adding a few now-out-of-print items to our Del Amitri collection here, starting with this great B-sides collection from the boys. If you read our earlier posts, you'll know that many of the Dels greatest songs did not appear on their albums. And many of those songs were tapped for inclusion in this, a limited-edition bonus disc to their hits collection, Hatful of Rain.

I couldn't find the info anywhere else online, so here's a handy guide to which singles (and from which album, represented by the titles' initials) the album's tracks come.

I'll also be reupping the other volumes of our DA Rarities collection, so check for those!

Scared to Live - Spit in the Rain WH-era
The Return of Maggie Brown - Stone Cold Sober WH
In the Frame - Roll to Me [UK] T
Sleep Instead of Teardrops - Not Where It's At SOSP
Long Journey Home - When You Were Young [CD2] CE
Paper Thin - Don't Come Home Too Soon NA
The Last Love Song - Tell Her This [CD1] T
The Verb To Do - When You Were Young [CD2] CE
In the Meantime - Driving with the Brakes On [CD1] T
Long Way Down - Roll to Me [US] T
Whiskey Remorse - Be My Downfall CE
Before the Evening Steals the Afternoon - Not Where It's At [CD2] SOSP
So Many Souls to Change - Nothing Ever Happens WH
The Whole World is Quiet - Always the Last to Know CE

Enjoy - and say "hi" in comments if you've missed us, or are finding your way here for the first time!